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Soviet Women in Combat explores the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women's en masse volunteering for World War II combat in 1941 and writes it into the twentieth-century history of women, war and violence. The book narrates a story about a cohort of Soviet young women who came to think about themselves as 'women soldiers' in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s and who shared modern combat, its machines and commanding positions with men on the Eastern front between 1941 and 1945. The author asks how a largely patriarchal society with traditional gender values such as Stalinist Russia in the 1930s managed to merge notions of violence and womanhood into a first conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces. Pursuing the question, Krylova's approach and research reveals a more complex conception of gender identities.
Anna Krylova is Hunt Assistant Professor of Modern Russian History at Duke University. Her research focuses on twentieth-century Russian gender and cultural history, World War II and mechanization of warfare, and problematics of historical interpretation. She has published articles and critical historiographical essays in the Journal of Modern History, Slavic Review and Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and has served as a guest editor of a special Slavic Review issue on Soviet and Russian notions of self. Professor Krylova has been a Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, and visiting scholar at Tuebingen University (Germany).